A summary of the address delivered by Rev. W. Hofman on August 22 at the Convention of the Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies
The sixth annual Young People’s Convention is now an event of the past, and for everyone who attended, it was two days filled with Christian fellowship, spiritual edification and new and renewed friendships. On the final night of the Convention the Rev. Walter Hofman of Holland, Michigan addressed the delegates and visitors gathered in the gymnasium of the Hudsonville High School. He had been asked to further develop the convention theme by speaking on “The Beauty of Youth”.
In the first place he stated that we as Protestant Reformed Youth were the most potentially beautiful audience ever gathered. But also on the other hand that we were very ugly—we need only to look in a mirror to see our scars and blemishes: we need only to look in the mirror of God’s Word to see the filth of sin that marks us and covers us. If we first can truly see how ugly we are, then only are we beautiful. Very characteristically the speech was divided into the customary three parts and in the first place he pictured to us that beauty is found alone in Christ Jesus. We of ourselves cannot find it, buy it or make it, but must be washed in the blood of Christ, be renewed by His Spirit and then we will receive that beauty from God which He gives us freely in His Son. In the second place it was explained what true beauty really is. Never can we buy it such as cosmetics or other artificial beautifications, but it must consist of our daily walk in life. We reflect beauty when we walk in the way of God’s will and are in perfect harmony with it. That walk of beauty will lead us to that house of many mansions where we will be His jewels and shine in beauty forever. And in the third place, beauty is revealed by God in Christ Jesus His Son. He is the only source of beauty and reveals it in His perfect Goodness and Grace to His people.
Hosea compared the beauty of Israel to the purity of the lilies, to the strength of the cedars of Lebanon and to the fruitfulness of the olive tree. We as Protestant Reformed young people also have that beauty: pure beauty when we respect ourselves in body and soul as being the temples of God: strength of beauty when we say NO to the ugliness of this world—to shows and dances and say YES to God, to church attendance, to catechism and society. Also, the strength of beauty is reflected when we say yes to the truth—to the truth as we Protestant Reformed churches have it and to know it so that we love it. And lastly, that fruitfulness of beauty is revealed in us when we use our God-given talents to His glory and honor, confess His name, take part in the church, pray without ceasing and particularly to choose a vocation in His service.
God created man the most beautiful thing in all creation and man returned all that beauty to God in the way of service to God. But man fell, his beauty was marred and scarred and he took upon himself the ugly image of the devil so that he was completely and totally ugly. But God in His infinite mercy incorporated His chosen and elect people in Christ Jesus His Son and washed them in His precious blood so that they emerged beautiful and unspotted. We stand at the end of the ages—in the center of the brush mark of God’s grace. We have the complete and perfect revelation of God Who is our beauty and Who will someday take us to that heavenly home to shine for Him forever. Dare to be beautiful, desire to be beautiful, shun the ugliness of this world and your reward will be eternal life and joy in the presence of Him Who is the Source of all beauty.